Lapierre Makes XC Comfortable With ProRace Carbon Hardtail

by
June 26, 2017

In case you hadn’t noticed, XC racing is undergoing a bit of a revolution at the moment. While much media attention is focussed on the flat cap-wearing ‘bro’ sports of enduro and downhill, XC is still alive and kicking, and thanks to significant advancements in frame technology and frame geometry, the latest crop of lightweight race whippets are more comfortable, more capable, and more fun than ever before.

In recent seasons, we’ve seen BMC introduce its new Team Elite carbon hardtail, complete with the micro suspension MTT design. German brand Focus also brought modern trail geometry into the superlight Raven MAX hardtail frame, while Trek looked over to the Domane road frame to adopt the IsoSpeed decoupler for the latest Procaliber hardtail.

And now, it’s Lapierre’s turn with the all-new ProRace SAT.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
The 2018 Lapierre ProRace SAT. All photos by Damian McArthur (www.damianmcarthur.com)

Just as Trek did with the Procaliber, Lapierre has looked to its road team for engineering input on the latest ProRace hardtail. The ProRace has been in the Lapierre lineup for a good while now, but this is the first time it’s using the SAT design. Standing for ‘Shock Absorbing Technology’, SAT integrates an elastomer damper into the seat tube cluster to increase compliance for a more comfortable ride. In addition to that, Lapierre has updated frame geometry on the new ProRace to make it faster, more stable, and better equipped for the increasingly technical World Cup XC courses.

Here we’re going to dive in and have a closer look at the new bike, though if you want some more hands-on experience, then make sure you check out Olly’s review of the 2018 Lapierre ProRace SAT 729.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
Feeling pro?

Ever more technical race tracks. Pure XC to multi-day stage races. Charging up hill and down dale to the finish line… An XC steed needs to hold its own amongst the best. Acceleration and efficiency are essential, but so are handling, traction and rollover of obstacles. With decades of XC racing experience Lapierre have nailed this and can get you across the finish line, fast. The PRORACE model is a lightweight carbon hardtail for the XC purist. A precise, responsive ride with aggressive XC geometry for better handling” – From Lapierre.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
The ProRace SAT is a new generation hardtail from Lapierre.

Lapierre ProRace SAT Features

  • Superlight XC race hardtail
  • Full carbon fibre frame
  • SAT (Shock Absorbing Technology)
  • 1070g claimed frame weight
  • 29in wheels
  • Designed for 100mm travel forks w/51mm offset
  • 69.5° head angle
  • 73° seat angle
  • PF92 bottom bracket shell
  • Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing
  • 428mm chainstay length
  • 27.2mm diameter seatpost
  • Stealth dropper post routing
  • 1x and 2x compatible
  • Internal gear cable and brake line routing
  • Di2 compatible via Trapdoor BB port
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
This is where things get interesting. And squishy.

The SAT design is where the magic happens with the new Lapierre ProRace SAT frame. With a silhouette that’s reminiscent of GT’s Triple Triangle design, the SAT design sees the carbon frame’s seatstays extend beyond the seat tube to fix further up the seat tube. For a start, this allows the seat tube and seat post to flex fore and aft with more ease, much like the Trek Procaliber and Focus Raven MAX frames. However, the compliance doesn’t end there.

lapierre prorace hardtail
High tech blue thingamajig.

The seatstay extention is actually split in two before it meets the top tube. An elastomer (read: fancy blue rubbery thing), then connects the two, providing additional damping as the two stubs flex during riding. The result of this design is more compliance and vibration control whether the rider is seated or standing up. It’s a simple design, and somewhat of a re-imagination of the soft-tail design of old. However, thanks to the addition of high-tech carbon fibre construction techniques, the ProRace frame is still built to be stiff and taut in elsewhere.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
Hoooooge bottom bracket junction with leaf-spring seat tube.

The bottom bracket junction is absolutely massive. Using a 92mm wide PF92 bottom bracket (no BB30 or PF30 stuff here), the cavernous bottom bracket shell connects to a huge downtube to form a very stiff spine for the whole bike. Lapierre has a flashy name for this, which it calls ‘Intellizone Module’. Essentially what that refers to is the massive amount of lateral stiffness it’s engineered into the ProRace frame, so that there’s minimal twisting from the headtube to rear dropouts.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
How twee! The 1x chainguide gets a discreet joining link added in the backside.
lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
Lapierre developed its own direct-mount chain guide for the ProRace frame.

Although all of Lapierre’s ProRace SAT complete bikes are coming with 1x drivetrains (and SRAM ones at that), the frame is 2x and Di2 compatible. Given the marathon capabilities of this new comfortable lightweight hardtail, we can see the advantage of running a double for longer stage races where a tighter cassette ratio is preferable. But it’s a bit of a sign of the times when Lapierre is only spec’ing 1x drivetrains out of the box.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
The Trapdoor hides a Di2 battery and allows access to internal cabling for ease of installation.
lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
148x12mm dropouts out back, with a clean tooled axle.
lapierre frame geometry
Lapierre ProRace SAT Frame Geometry.

Thanks to the input of the likes of Nico Voiuillez, the ProRace SAT has had an update to its frame numbers to steer it away from the uber-twitchy race bikes that many think of when the words ‘XC Hardtail’ care uttered. The ProRace SAT isn’t super slack – it’s got a 69.5° head angle, and it also isn’t super long, with a Medium frame getting a 415mm reach. However, the 73° seat angle means the reach opens up as the seatpost is extended, helping to stretch the rider out over the top tube.

Chainstays are compact at 428mm, and there’s a very generous 60mm BB drop (65mm on the Small frame size), which helps to lower the rider’s centre of gravity overall. And given that seat tube lengths are relatively compact across the board, it gives potential customers the opportunity to upsize if they’d prefer a longer reach to run with a shorter stem.

lapierre prorace carbon hardtail
Looks fast standing still no?

As to how it actually rides? Well best you check out Olly’s First Ride Review of the Lapierre ProRace SAT 729 for a very comprehensive rundown of what’s what on this refined hard(soft?)tail race bike.

To chase up availability with your nearest Lapierre dealer, get in touch with UK distributor Raleigh Bikes for further information.

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